DENVER (CBS4) – The third and final phase of the South Platte River Project is now complete.

The city of Denver has been working to improve the South Platte River for more than 15 years. Those improvements span from the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte all the way to 8th Avenue.

The last leg, which spans from 8th Avenue to Colfax was opened up Monday.

The city says that people can now boat the entire length of the Platte through Denver. There are 10-foot-wide trails to encourage people to recreate along the river.

The river was also widened and deepened to improve its ability to better handle not only flash flooding, but a 100-year flood.

The Regional Transportation District gave the city nearly $4 million to help with the final phase. The changes to the waterways enabled it to build their west corridor light rail line along the gulch and out of flood hazards.

“The improvements for the South Platte River from 8th Avenue up to Colfax; a lot of widening and lowering of the river, bringing the banks back, making it safer,” Kimberly Watanabe with the City of Denver said. “It also can contain a large flooding event so the immediate area doesn’t get flooded.”

Lakewood Gulch, which meets up with the South Platte, was reconfigured back to its historical location and condition. There’s also a broad floodplain there as well to help make the area safer during floods.


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